The first thing you need to know about 2x4s: They don’t actually measure two by four! These boards, which you can find in any lumberyard or home improvement store, in lengths from 6 to 12 feet, measure two inches thick and four inches wide in their raw state, but once milled, they come out at 1½ by 3½ inches. Now that we have that essential detail out of the way, though, the one truly important thing to know about 2x4s is that they are the simple, budget-friendly starting point for woodworking projects large and small. Read on for 8 brilliant do-it-yourself projects that begin with basic 2x4s.
1. Classic Console
For a rustic yet classic addition to your home, look no further than the X motif that adds stability and style to this contemporary console table. The materials are easy enough to find in hardware stores: The sides, legs, and top are all made with 2x4 boards.
RELATED: 13 Unexpected Uses for Baskets
2. Bud Vase
Turned on its narrow side, a humble bit of board becomes a refreshingly unique holder for backyard blooms. This clever crafter drilled holes for test tubes, then stained the wood a dark brown to create a modern centerpiece in about 30 minutes—and all for less than 20 bucks.
3. Coffee Table
Take a whole bunch of 2x4s and some hairpin legs, screw them all together, slap on some protective gloss, and you’ve got a super-stylish spot for coffee and cocktails (not to mention propped-up feet). Raw wood gives the table a hand-hewn vibe, but the boards could certainly be stained or painted for a more finished appearance.
4. Bar Stools
With plenty of table-saw work, a trio of 8-foot-long 2x4s can be trimmed down and transformed into a pair of slender-legged bar stools. Strips of wood were glued together to make the seats, and a stain brings out the wood grain for extra visual impact.
5. Candle Holder
Any woodworker knows that wood scraps are an inevitable byproduct of DIY. Here’s a genius idea: Turn those odds and ends into candleholders by cutting them into neat squares, using a spade bit to drill a votive-size hole, then staining them a chic dark brown.
RELATED: 8 New Ideas for DIY Outdoor Lighting
6. Outdoor Sofa
A cushy outdoor sofa offers the perfect spot for guests to linger on the patio. With just 2x4s and some deck screws, you can build this model yourself in a few hours. Add some colorful cushions, and let the relaxation begin!
7. Rolling Cart
For practicality, it’s hard to beat a wheeled cart. You can use one to catch keys and mail in an entry, hold towels in a bathroom, or serve as a party-friendly bar station. Six 2x4 boards, braces, screws, and some casters are the building blocks for this attractive mobile storage solution.
8. Floating Shelves
Inspired by similar versions found at IKEA, this homeowner whipped up a few book-display ledges in a flash after having the boards cut to size at her favorite big-box home improvement store. A coat of oil-based primer and three coats of white paint give the shelves a glossy, finished look.